Emily Bennett is an actress and writer, known for The Blacklist (2013), Chicago Fire (2012) and Chicago Justice (2017).
Bennett trained for 3 years at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, a privilege reserved for very few American actors. This training has not only served her acting career, but has strengthened her directing work and her ability to work with actors of all methodologies. She’s an actor’s director, with a keen focus on raw, honest performances.
Bennett is an Academy recognized screenwriter and award winning director whose most recent short film LVRS screened such festivals as Sitges, The Brooklyn Horror Film Festival and won her best director at The Horrible Imaginings Film Festival. Bennett’s feature screenplay ACHE recently placed quarter finalist in the Academy Nicholl Fellowship (2020).
In 2020, Bennett co-directed her debut feature film ALONE WITH YOU with filmmaking partner Justin Brooks (Vice, A&E) alongside Andrew Corkin’s and Theo James’ Untapped Productions (MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE, WE ARE WHAT WE ARE, THE BEACH HOUSE). The film stars horror veteran Barbara Crampton, Emma Myles (ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK), Dora Madison (BLISS, VFW), and Bennett herself. Bennett is repped by manager Adréana Robbins (Bohemia Group) and entertainment lawyer Marc Von Arx (Nelson Davis).
Q & A
Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual/personal level?
Thomasin in The VVitch. I had a very religious upbringing. And every time I would try to tell scary stories about witches and ghosts, I’d get in trouble in Bible study class. Church people did not like ghost stories. I was also obsessed with the woods behind my grandmother’s house and would explore and write stories about what was really back there. And also, I can fly. So there’s that.
You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?
I thought about shooting LVRS on location at first. We were going to set up in Chicago on Lake Michigan for one scene. In February. FEBRUARY. We had to find out if the camera would shut down in that temperature. My crew was so sweet. They let me finally come to the conclusion that was cruel and unusual of me. Then I got the projector idea and the film fell into place after that. But I’ll admit, it was a bad idea to ever entertain shooting on Lake Michigan in February.
Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
Now that I’ve been to several festivals as a horror filmmaker, kind of. But I feel like I’m a very new member to the club. I have a deep love for horror and genre and I’m just happy to be at the party now.
When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
Paintings by artists I love. The writings of Raymond Carver, Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, and Shakespeare. My own dreams. And conversations with my mother help a lot.
What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
Technically I lived my film for a couple of years, so I woke up in it every day. If I woke up in it now, I’d take his mask off, punch him in the face and run.
Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
Ann Dowd from Hereditary, because she could make anyone trust her. Hannibal Lecter, because he’s smarter than everyone else (and oddly quite dreamy). Michael from Halloween because he wouldn’t ever interrupt me and he’s good at sneaking up on people. And for kicks, I’d take the girl from The Ring. I think this would make a lovely family portrait.
Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
Freddy. King. Practical. Apocalypse Now ☺.
And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?
Impossible. I’ll give you 3. The Shining. The Thing. Hereditary.